I got a call the other day from Kelly from Ka Punawai Ola asking if I would entertain their patients/residents. She was referred to me by my piano tuner and asked if I had a CD of my singing. So, I mailed her a demo that I had recorded of my Sinatra standards that some patients previously asked for.
Kelly called back and asked me to perform on Friday, July 2 and I agreed. While they wanted the Sinatra music, I thought I'd combine that with patriotic music that I had already worked through for other gigs for Independence Day.
Lots of dust on the Roland piano
Ka Punawai Ola is an open facility that is spread out in a one story structure in the middle of Kapolei's business district. They have a lot of open spaces for the residents/patients to enjoy, including courtyards, tropical foliage and sitting areas. A very impressive setting.
When I arrived there, they set me up in the dining area where they have an old upright piano and a Roland electric piano. Both pianos faced the wall but the upright was an upright grand at over 4 feet so I chose to move the electric, which was much lighter, so I could face the audience. As an entertainer and a singer, it's no fun talking to the wall. I did that a lot in grade school where I had to stand in the corner for the amusement of the teachers.
Once I set up, I noticed three aunties sitting in front of me waiting for me to start. Heck, they demanded that I begin even though I had another 15 minutes before my start time. As most of you know, it's no fun getting scolded by aunties so I asked them to sing. They looked Filipino so I did "Dahil Saiyo". One knew all the words and the other two aunties followed.
Then, I asked them to help me by making jungle sounds. One was in charge of the monkey sound, another was in charge of the bird calls and another made sounds that pigeons make. So, off we went into "Quiet Village". The staff was still wheeling patients into the room and they wondered what the heck we were doing, making these strange noises. Many wanted to participate so I followed that number with "Yellow Bird".
One auntie was expecting Christian music and was raring to go. I suppose most entertainers at these homes are from church groups and it's expected that it would be like a Christian revival. I explained that I don't do church music, mostly because the patients who aren't Christians frequently feel imposed upon as captive members of the audience. So, I thought I'd be different from everyone else.
As it turned out, when I began singing Sinatra ballads, more people began coming into the room. Of course, when I did the patriotic music, most of the songs talked about God since the Nation was founded on Judeo-Christian philosophies. And, of course, the gospels, called "slave music" are religious based.
The auntie on the left did a sit-down hula all through the performance. I purposely sang "Manuela Boy" just to see her go through the motion for "house", "five cents" "moi", etc. I was having so much fun watching her that I forgot my place and repeated a whole verse.
Overall, I had a good time and I think the patients/residents did too. While I don't want to add another gig to my 3 per week, I often go to different nursing/care homes on Fridays when scheduling permits. I hope Ka Punawai Ola calls me back. I miss the aunties.